The Gift of Forgiveness

The First Sunday of Advent readings might strike you as somewhat odd. The don’t seem very…well, in the Christmas spirit. Perhaps it helps to consider where Advent falls on the liturgical calendar for the Church. It is immediately preceded by the Solemnity of Christ the King and followed by the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas). Advent lies between the celebration of the Seconding Coming of Christ at the end of time and the commemoration of the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often to prepare for the Second Coming at the end of time, while also commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. With the view of directing the thoughts of Christians to the first coming of Jesus Christ as Savior, and to his second coming as Judge, special readings are prescribed for each of the four Sundays in Advent. Continue reading

Asking Forgiveness

forgivenessThe Family Leadership Summit is an annual affair that promotes its conservative Evangelical Christian identity and values around the family. Given that it is Iowa based, it is no surprise that in 2015 the Republican-Party hopefuls were on the podium and present at “town hall” meetings. Given the audience and agenda, it should come as no surprise what kind of questions you are going to face – and, as any good speaker would pay attention to, what kind of language the audience is waiting to hear in any response. The questions came as no surprise: “What is your relationship to Jesus Christ? Are you saved? How does your faith form your political world view?” Continue reading

Chaos and Spring Cleaning

ChaosRecently I was given to a fit of spring cleaning in my office. As with most spring cleanings, the day was marked by occasions of, “Oh my gosh, I wondered where that was,” “Where did I get that?”,  “Why in the world did I keep that?” and a host of other on going revelations. Seven large garbage bags of …of…. stuff were collected and sent off for recycling or disposal. There was a point in which my office had the appearance of the primordial swirl of chaos – papers, books, boxes, bags, and all manner of things lay strewn around the floor, on the desk, and parked on and under chairs. All of it waiting for the imposition of order, the creative hand of the Spirit bringing beauty and symmetry, or the simple assignment to its place. Continue reading

The answer we wait for…

TheAnnunciationAt our local house we friars meet on Tuesday morning to read and share about the upcoming Sunday’s reading. It is our communal “musing” if you will. Sometimes another friar will have a great insight that inspires your own ultimate direction; sometimes it is an image that you take in a completely different direction. Sometimes there is “preacher’s block” and sometimes the ideas are full, free, and flowing. Continue reading

Rejoicing with the Angels in Heaven

This Sunday is Laetare Sunday, so called because of the opening words to the antiphon for the Mass: Laetare Jerusalem….Rejoice, O Jerusalem…

All of our readings reflect and point to the celebration theme of joy here at the midpoint of our Lenten journey. When the Israelites reach the promised land the Lord announced that their guilt had been lifted, and so the people celebrate. They had become new people in a new land – just as St. Paul reminds us in his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians: “Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” But the gospel is the real celebration in the wonderful telling of the parable of the Prodigal Son. There are a myriad of things that could be said about this parable, but let me suggest one for your consideration this Sunday. Continue reading